Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s the Hyperloop! And man, does that thing go!
The Hyperloop is the brainchild of Tesla and SpaceX founder, Elon Musk. Best known for his forays into the world of electric cars and rockets, Musk first started playing with the possibility of a new, ‘fifth mode of transportation’ five years ago, when he released a manifesto detailing his ideas for the Hyperloop onto the SpaceX website. Sort of a cross between a bullet train, an air-hockey table and the Railgun from Quake, the Hyperloop concept envisions a pod carrying passengers or cargo travelling inside of an airless tunnel, creating an almost-vacuum which reduces air resistance and friction, allowing the pod to travel at super-high speeds.
Musk built a 1.2 km-long prototype Hyperloop tube at the SpaceX headquarters near Los Angeles, but what he didn’t build was a design for these pods: that he left up to the best and brightest minds that the world’s top Universities have to offer. 700 designers, engineers and programmers, split into 25 teams from around the globe and all under the watchful eye of Musk himself, met up at the test-track on Sunday to put their pods to the test.
The third and final stage of Musk’s competition saw three teams – the WARR Hyperloop team, Paradigm Hyperloop and Swissloop – compete for the glory of developing the fastest Hyperloop pod.
The winner’s spoils went to WARR, consisting of students from the Technical University of Munich. Different teams have used alternative methods to try to realise Musk’s dreams: Hyperloop One, the company that won the previous round of the competition, used magnetic levitation, Swissloop used jet power to power their pod, and Paradigm Hyperloop followed Musk’s suggestion of using a cushion of air to float the pod along. The WARR team’s 6-metre-long pod left all the competition in its dust using a measly 75-horsepower electric motor to hit a speedy 323 km/h – more than 200 km/h faster than the next best team, but only a quarter of the Hyperloop proper’s estimated speed. Yes, you heard right – the Hyperloop is expected to reach speeds of up to 1200 km/h! That’s almost 300 km/h faster than a Boeing 747 – and it’s basically a train!
Check out the WARR team’s successful run in the video below:
Video uploaded on Aug 28, 2017 by WARR Hyperloop
Musk has asked for even more from the next round of the competition, hoping that the new round of designs will reach supersonic speeds.
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